The participants included Ben Dobson, Gail Fuller, Will Harris, Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin, Kerry Hoffschneider, John Kempf, Judith McGeary, Wayne Swanson and Bob Quinn as more than 6,000 viewers watched live.
The speakers discussed their visions on how to revitalize American farming with Kennedy.
Kennedy started the conversation by recounting his experience litigating against Big Ag companies, and how it taught him how corporations and politicians plotted to consolidate the industry.
According to Kennedy, passing legislation that protects factory farms, manipulating subsidy programs and forming crucial partnerships with industrial farmers helped greedy companies like Smithfield dominate the pork and chicken industries. In turn, these companies gradually turned the remaining family farmers into "indentured servants on their own land," added Kennedy.
Smithfield used marketing tactics on its websites and social media accounts to convince consumers that its pork products are environmentally friendly, which is greenwashing at its finest. In time, Smithfield’s low prices forced the entire industry to switch to the same model.
Kennedy said his experience fighting against Big Ag inspired him to try "the other end of the spectrum" with individuals with a true desire to produce "real food and healthy food and wholesome communities" that everyone can be proud of.
Kennedy then listened, took notes and asked questions while Elizabeth Kucinich, an organic food activist and filmmaker, moderated the panel. The farmers then talked about their challenges, successes and lessons from their work to help "rebuild the critical life system" of the American landscape and communities in it.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador recently banned genetically modified (GMO) corn in Mexican tortillas to help reduce GMO corn imports to Mexico from the U.S. and produce a demand for non-GMO corn.
However, instead of supporting the switch to non-GMO agriculture, the Biden administration’s U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is taking Mexico to trade court, said Ben Dobson.
Dobson, who is from Hudson Carbon, a non-profit on-farm soil laboratory in Hudson Valley, New York, said the agency's self-serving move would be cutting the brakes on a market that could support U.S. farmers who want to end their dependence on GMO crops. (Related: FRANKENFOOD ALERT: Piggy Sooy GMO soybean contains 26.6% animal protein.)
Bob Quinn, a Montana organic grain farmer, said enforcing different systems of compensation for farmers is important for setting up a different agricultural system. Unfortunately, the current system rewards high yields instead of the cultivation of the healthy environments that make farms prosper.
Quinn explained that U.S. grain production has two goals: higher yield for farmers and higher-yield wheat needed by bakers. To address this, farmers transitioned to shorter, higher-yielding, gluten-heavy wheat treated with glyphosate.
But the combination is hard for the human body to process, which often leads to allergies and other diseases. According to Quinn, the transition to organic heritage grains could help prevent those allergies.
Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin, a Guatemalan agronomist and the owner-founder of Regeneration Farms in Minnesota, said that the government institutions and corporations that control the food system are only interested in a model that has caused "a systemically and verifiable and quantifiable way of killing the planet in the name of food."
Haslett-Marroquin explained that on his farm, they discovered ways to use modern scientific advances in technology to help them "engage the natural design and the most efficient ways of working with the land."
Gail Fuller, a Kansas family farmer, spoke in detail about the policies that often hurt farmers and the land. To illustrate, crop insurance incentivizes bad management.
And because tillage and pesticides are considered "best management practices," farmers who use alternative practices are at a disadvantage. But he said that farmers aren't always willing to switch to alternative practices because "industry writes the farm bill."
Fuller warned that one in four children in Kansas is food-insecure and the food that they have is often "low nutrient quality, highly toxic, food-like substances." He also called for the end of the monopolies that control agriculture, the censorship of experts and researchers and ending subsidies for destructive farm practices and conservation programs that are a dead-end.
Fuller added that policymakers should aim to improve food, health, water, farmer welfare and quality of life.
Wayne Swanson, owner of Swanson Family Farm and consultant for small farms, explained why it's crucial to grow localized farm economies and make small farms economically viable.
He said that for the project to work, the public must be educated on how to value farming that isn't always high-yielding or aesthetically beautiful. Instead, Swanson said that the focus must be on valuing relationships and environmental and community health.
Dobson added that the farmers at the roundtable represented "food as food" and not as a commodity.
He also explained that meaningful conversation about how to replace agro-industrial techniques, chemical inputs and genetically modified (GM) crops will help "rebuild the critical life system" of the U.S., adding that this is only possible if people talked about the communities, farms and the ecosystems involved, along with international relationships.
Watch the video below to learn more about the dangers of GMO food.
This video is from the oneninetyfivenationsrising channel on Brighteon.com.